THE DEATH OF ABSALOM
So glad to have your company
again here at Daily Bread! Yesterday, we read
about Ahithophel and Hushai both giving Absalom different advice about what to
do about David. Hushai's advice was given to help David escape, since
he is David's friend and his purpose in pretending to be Absalom's counselor was
to confuse the advice of Ahithophel. Absalom, not knowing Hushai's intention,
ignored the advice of Ahithophel and took the advice of Hushai. David's plan was
working, let's take a look at what transpired after that.
THE DEATH OF ABSALOM STUDY ON THE DEATH OF ABSALOM STORY WITH THE DEATH OF ABSALOM MESSAGE
David counted how many people were
with him and appointed captains and leaders over the soldiers. David made Joab
leader over one third of them, Abishai was leader over one third, and Ittai was
leader over one third, dividing his army into three parts. (Remember, Ittai
was a Gittite who had recently become a follower of David, and when David tried
to persuade him to stay in Jerusalem when he fled from Absalom, Ittai wouldn't
hear of it, because he was so committed to David.) David also affirmed
to them that he would be going to fight with them as well.
But the people disagreed saying, "You
can't go with us. If we have to flee, Absalom's army won't care if they capture
us. If half of us die, they won't care. They're after YOU. You're worth ten
thousand of us. It's better if you stay in the city."
David went along with what they
said, so he waited by the city gates and his troops left.
The king commanded Joab, Abishai, and Ittai, "Deal gently with Absalom, for my
sake, please. "All the troops heard David give this command. In essence,
David was requesting that they spare Absalom's life.
So David's people went out to battle
against Israel in the forest of Ephraim, and it was a huge victory for David's
troops. They killed about 20,000 men from Israel's army in one day. More men
died because of the terrain in the forest than those that died by the sword ... As
we've seen so many times before, the amazing and peculiar hand of God working with David and his men.
Well, it came to pass that Absalom
encountered the servants of David. He was riding on a mule, and when the mule
went under a huge oak tree's branches, Absalom's hair got caught in the
branches and he was left just hanging there while the mule kept on going. Remember
that Absalom had tremendously thick hair. Who would have thought that this
would be his demise?
A man saw what had happened and went
to tell Joab that he saw Absalom hanging from the branches. Joab asked, "If you
saw him hanging there, why didn't you kill him? I would have given you 10
shekels and a belt." The man replied, "Even if I would have received 10
shekels, I would not lay a hand on the king's son. Everyone heard when the king
gave the orders not to harm Absalom. I would be putting my own life
in jeopardy. The king finds out about everything. He would have known it was I
that killed his son, and you would have gone against me as well."
THE DEATH OF ABSALOM LESSON WITH THE DEATH OF ABSALOM EXPLANATION
Joab said, "I'm not staying here with
you any longer." He then took three spears and thrust them though Absalom while he was
still alive hanging from the oak.
Remember that Joab defended Absalom by
getting the woman from Tekoah to soften David's heart toward his son and bring
him out of banishment. Then when Absalom was brought home, David didn't speak to
him for two years and it was Joab who convinced David to speak to him again.
Well, we have our answer to whether Joab was sincere in steering David toward
forgiveness of Absalom back in
Chapter 14. It
must have troubled Joab greatly that Absalom conspired against David so. Even at
David's pleading to spare Absalom's life, Joab felt justice would be done if
Absalom died for his treason. Does this remind you of what he did to Abner?
Then ten of Joab's men surrounded Absalom and
killed him. Joab sounded the trumpet indicating to cease fighting and his men
retreated from attacking Israel's army. They took Absalom's body and threw it
in a big pit in the forest and laid huge stones on top of him. And all of Israel
returned to their tents.
Then Ahimaaz (Zadok the priest's son) said,
"Let me go and tell the king the good news of the victory. The Lord has
delivered him again from his enemies!" But Joab said, "Don't tell David today
of the victory, because today ... His son has died." So Joab sent Cushi to go tell
the king what he observed. Cushi bowed to Joab, then ran to go report to the
Now why would Joab send Cushi instead
of Ahimaaz? Perhaps because Ahimaaz was usually the bearer of good news, so
maybe Joab thought it more appropriate to send someone else so as not to get the
king's hopes up that this was going to be a "happily ever after" kind of ending
to this awful disaster.
Ahimaaz pleaded again with Joab,
"Please, let me go with Cushi!" Joab asked him, "Why do you want to go
with him since you don't know what to say?" But Ahimaaz kept pleading, "Come
what may ... Please let me go!" So Joab said, "Go ahead." So Ahimaaz caught up with
Cushi and then outran him.
THE DEATH OF ABSALOM INFORMATION WITH THE DEATH OF ABSALOM MEANING
David sat waiting at the city gates.
The watchman on the roof saw a man running by himself and told the king. The
king said, "If he's alone, there must be news." But then the watchman
saw another man running and announced, "Another man is running behind him now."
And the king said, "He must be bringing news too."
The watchman told the king that from
the way the first messenger ran, it looked like the way Ahimaaz runs. David
said, "He's a good man. He's bringing me good news." Ahimaaz called out
to the king, "All is well." He bowed to the ground before the king and said,
"Blessed be the Lord thy God which has delivered you from your enemies that
tried to kill you."
The king asked, "Is Absalom safe?" Ahimaaz answered, "When Joab sent me,
I saw a lot of commotion going on, but I'm
not sure exactly what was happening." "Wait here", David told him, and he
waited. Cushi then approached and said, "Good
news for my king. The Lord has delivered you from the enemies that turned against
you." "Is Absalom safe?" David asked. "May all your enemies end up as that
young man is," Cushi answered.
The king was overwhelmed with emotion
and went up to a room over the gate and cried. As he left he said, "O my son
Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! I wish I had died for you, O Absalom, my son,
As we know from how David reacted to
Saul's death, he was very compassionate at heart, so one can imagine that his
natural affection for his own son was even stronger and the news of his death, an
unbearable thing to hear. Even though Absalom was trying to overthrow the
kingdom, David didn't want any harm to befall his child.
Perhaps also, David may have hoped that had Absalom lived, he would have come to
repentance and he would sacrifice his own life for that hope.
Come on back soon to see what happens
next ... We'll share it together right here at Daily Bread!